Mother Tongue

Mother Tongue Program

Current research in the field of language acquisition overwhelmingly shows that academic achievement is consistently enhanced, particularly in lower grades, when new language learning is done in parallel with the home language, rather than only in place of the child’s original mother tongue.

School-based support for language development in both the main language of instruction as well as mother tongue has far-reaching benefits, including those in emotional,  social and academic areas. For example, students will find it easier to discuss classroom content and lessons with their families, students will understand similar linguistic structures (like nouns, adjectives, tenses, etc.) across multiple languages, and students will strengthen their sense of cultural identity while better understanding others.

Here at ISL we believe in supporting students' mother tongue, and we offer Latvian and Russian Mother Tongue classes during the school day in early elementary grades. Some lower English proficiency students in the upper grades of the MYP pursue self-study of their mother tongue in place of an acquisition language as they are still developing their English skills. Some Diploma Program candidates choose to study their Mother Tongue as an additional Language A option instead of selecting a Language B option, and they earn a bilingual diploma.  

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Elementary School

The greater the sophistication of a child`s mother tongue knowledge, the easier it is for them to learn new languages. Children who have a solid foundation in their mother tongue develop better literacy skills in all other languages that they learn. When parents and other important adults have time to discuss and read in the child’s mother tongue, and thus help expand the child’s vocabulary, the child will be better prepared for school and will more easily learn new languages. Children’s knowledge and skills transfer across languages. Skills learned in the mother tongue will transfer to the other languages learned in school, as long as all languages are supported.

Our program is offered in  Latvian & Russian. Students receive three sessions per week of instruction in these two languages, to supplement their regular classroom instruction.  Lessons focus on their IB Unit of Inquiry, math vocabulary as well as reading and literacy support. Students whose Mother Tongue is other than Latvian or Russian have an opportunity to take Latvian As A Non-Native Language, or to receive EAL assistance to improve their English language proficiency.

Diploma Program

There are two paths to earn a bilingual diploma. The first is when students choose to study their mother tongue as a `self taught`course for and additional Language A (group 1), choose English as their Language B (group 2), and they write their Extended Essay in the English language. The second option is when students choose two Language A options, one in English and one in their mother tongue.

Meet Our Team!

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Dace Lakse, Latvian Mother Tongue Teacher

dlakse@isl.edu.lv

Ilze Jirgensone, Russian Mother Tongue Teacher

ijirgensone@isl.edu.lv

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